Sri Lanka is a small island blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. The outer most areas are made up of coastline that spans almost one thousand five hundred kilometres, much of the inland areas are covered in forest with the very centre rising in peaks blanketed in tea plantations. The ancient ruins and historic sites found inside the country’s ‘Cultural Triangle’ are also well known around the world. These are the foundations on which tourism in Sri Lanka is built.
In 2009, Sri Lanka reached a milestone when the civil war that had gone on in country for over thirty years drew to a close. This opened the door for new opportunities and investment in Sri Lanka. It drew large amounts of foreign funding for projects in Sri Lanka across a wide spectrum of industries including the hospitality and tourism sector. The largest players in Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry also expanded their businesses, some even buying hotels or taking over management of properties in neighbouring countries. These large blue-chip companies drive the local economy and are often prominent players in more than one industry. Covering areas from information technology solutions and real estate to the manufacturing processed foods and owning one of the country’s leading supermarket chains is the John Keells Group. The group also operates fourteen leading hotels both locally and internationally.
Sri Lanka saw over one and half million tourist arrivals in 2014. The revenue from tourism and hospitality is expected to increase six fold in the next ten years. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority is striving to take a visitor focused approach and adopt global practices and standards to market Sri Lanka as being more attractive and accessible to tourists. The efforts will attempt to grow traditional markets and diversify by venturing out into new ones.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.